Background checks are a crucial part of Uber’s process of hiring drivers. But many people don’t know how these background checks are done, what they are looking for, and how they compare to the background checks we can all do. In this article, we explain all and lay out in detail what background checks Uber runs on prospective drivers.
Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry but it has not been without its controversies. Chief among them has been the way in which the company looks into the background of its drivers.
This background checking process is evolving all the time as regulations in different countries scramble to respond to Uber’s innovative new business model. A number of isolated instances of drivers attacking passengers has seen huge scrutiny put on the company and it has had to battle to retain its licenses in a number of countries and cities, most recently London.
In this article, we will explain in more detail what Uber does to background-check its drivers and how you can find out for yourself the sort of information they are looking for and even check individual drivers for yourself.
Does Uber do background checks?
It is important to stress at this point that the sites we are recommending in this article are for individuals to run background checks. These two sites are the best sites for you to run a background check but they are not used by Uber.
As a company, Uber has to comply with very stringent regulations. It is also an international company and these regulations will vary significantly from one country to another.
Every Uber driver has to pass a background check before they can drive for the company and because of the very specific information Uber is looking for, it uses a specialist company to run these checks.
The company used by Uber in the USA is a corporate background checking site known as Checkr. In other countries, they will use different companies. The decision to use external providers is generally believed to be an attempt to remove themselves from liability against lawsuits bought by drivers who are not happy at failing a background check.
Uber’s background checks are, in general, not as comprehensive as the most highly regarded commercial background checking services (of which we’ll recommend a few below). That is because Uber places a high priority on some information and less of a priority on others. The sites that we have recommended give all the information they can access equal priority, which is why they generate such detailed and comprehensive reports.
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What background checks are done on Uber drivers?
Uber is a taxi company that puts drivers in touch with customers that need to make a journey. This business model means there are two main areas of information that Uber take most interest in when running background checks on prospective drivers:
Driving and motor vehicle records
Uber will look especially closely at prospective driver’s licenses and motor vehicle history. Drivers will have to hold a valid license and depending on their age, they may have had to hold this for a certain number of years.
As a general rule, Uber will want to see no major driving offenses on their record and, depending on the country, there is also likely to be a limit on the number of minor offenses an applicant can have on their record too.
In the USA, a prospective Uber driver will fail their background check if they have:
- Any major moving vehicle violations within the last seven years;
- Three or more minor moving vehicle violations in the last three years;
- Any record of being DUI;
- Any record of reckless driving;
- Older than 23 and have held a license for under a year;
- Under 23 and have held a license for less than three years.
As well as being able to guarantee safe driving, Uber also needs to ensure the safety of their customers. They will therefore also scrutinize prospective driver’s criminal records to make sure they don’t pose a threat to customers.
The legal requirements for these checks vary quite a bit depending on which state or country an Uber driver is applying to work. But in broad terms, any conviction for a felony, a violent or sexual offense will preclude you from working with Uber.
In the USA, a prospective Uber driver will fail their background check if they have:
- A criminal conviction within the last seven years for a felony;
- A criminal conviction within the last seven years for a violent crime;
- A criminal conviction within the last seven years for a sexual offense;
- A criminal conviction of any kind for theft, violence, or drugs.
While these checks are carried out (in the USA) by Checkr, Uber ultimately retains responsibility for ensuring that the drivers it works with do not put their customers at risk.
But, Uber’s not always accurate
As a commercial company, Uber is governed by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This piece of legislation prevents companies in the USA from looking at arrest records that are older than seven years as part of its background checking process. In some states, companies are also not allowed to look at criminal convictions that are more than seven years old either.
As a result, if an applicant to Uber has been arrested, charged, or convicted of an offense more than seven years before they apply, there is no way that Uber can know about it.
Background checking sites can also only check records in places where they know a person has been. There have been cases where Uber has missed criminal records because an applicant managed to hide the fact that they lived or worked in a certain county or state from the background checking process.
The seven-year rule is obviously a major loophole and in California, a law has now been passed to specifically exclude ride-sharing firms like Uber from this law. But that is not the case everywhere and Uber is obliged to follow the law.
Best services to check into your Uber driver
If you’re not satisfied with Uber’s policies to hire safe drivers, you can take matters into your own hands and run a background check on your driver yourself. There are a lot of background checking sites available for individual people to use to dig up information on people. We have been researching these sites for some time and have compiled our top-two most effective background checking sites. They are:
Instant CheckMate is another background checking site that generates extremely reliable results. We were particularly impressed with the speed they could turn around a request, which was faster than almost any other site we tested.
Instant CheckMate prices begin at $34.78 per month or $27.82 for a three-month subscription. This means it isn’t the cheapest background checking site on the market but if you need accurate results fast, it is well worth the money.
Instant CheckMate delivers results in easy-to-follow reports and there are nicely designed iOS and Android apps as well as a good desktop dashboard. Its customer service was very responsive too and this helped to leave our researchers with an extremely positive overall impression for Instant Checkmate.
TruthFinder is another background checking site that impressed our team in testing. Results and information were unerringly accurate and this site could even deal with information we ran through it that was deliberately misleading.
The speed TruthFinder generated results in were decent, if not quite hitting the heights of a couple of other sites. But it was by no means slow and information was always easy to digest and understand thanks to its simple and well-designed reports.
TruthFinder’s responsive 24/7 customer support was a big favorite with our team making this site a good option for novices. It is available on a toll-free number. This helped to foster a feeling of a site that put the customer first and made the whole process of running a background check straightforward and positive.
What constitutes a background check?
Background checking websites are online services that allow you to search through public information and records to find out information about people.
A surprisingly large amount of information about all of us is openly available in the public domain. There are lots of sources of information, though searching through these manually is a laborious and time-consuming job.
But the digital age has seen much of this information put online. That is where a background checking site comes in. These sites have access to all of this information and have created algorithms that can search through hundreds of thousands of records in the blink of an eye.
This means information that would have taken you months to accumulate before can now be pulled together in just a few moments. The information these sites can access includes things like:
- Criminal records (state, county, and city)
- Education history (high school and college)
- Employment history
- Work authorization
- License details
- Credit history
- Driving record
- Social media profiles
When all this information is combined together, it can create a highly accurate image of almost any individual.
More reasons to run a background check
Why would you want to know so much about a person? People use background checking sites for all sorts of different reasons including:
- Employment checks – employers often run background checks before hiring someone to ensure their resume is accurate and they aren’t hiding anything.
- Criminal checks – many people like to run checks on neighbors, colleagues, and other people in their lives to ensure they aren’t hiding a secret criminal past.
- Finding out more about someone – you all have a mysterious person in your lives that you’d like to know a bit more about. A background check is a way to find out what you want to know.
- Finding a lost family member or friend – if you have lost contact with a family member of an old school friend and want to track them down, a background check enables you to find them quickly and easily.
- What information is there out there about you – it is always useful to know what information there is in the public domain about yourself, especially if you are applying for a job or think someone else might want to take a closer look at your background. A background checking site can tell you quickly and easily what information about yourself is publicly available.
Background checks are an essential part of the process of becoming an Uber driver but the nature of their business means that Uber is focused on looking into two particular areas above all else. They will scrutinize prospective drivers driving records and criminal records and while other information will be looked at, it is given less of a priority.
Public background checks allow users to run much more general and comprehensive background checks. They will find out about driver and criminal records but will augment this with much wider information to generate a pretty comprehensive picture of an individual.
Are you confident that Uber’s background checks on prospective drivers are sufficient? Have you run a background check on anyone yourself? How did you find the experience and were you happy with the service you used? We always welcome feedback and comments from our readers to help inform others, so why not share your own experiences with us using the comment box below?